Best Knee Brace For Meniscus Tear

Best Knee Brace For a Meniscus Tear

Will a knee brace help a torn meniscus?

Yes, it will. But it's essential that you make a well-informed choice.

If you found our website, you probably need some good news right now, so I thought I'd offer some right out of the gate.

Proof in studies

A 2018 study published in the Prosthetics and Orthotics International looked into the effects of using a knee brace while recovering from a meniscal strain or tear.

A quote from the results:

"Two different braces each showed a significant reduction in the posteromedial meniscal strain..."

A quote from the conclusion:

"Two unloader knee braces effectively reduced strain in the medial meniscus with an intact anterior cruciate ligament during dynamic activities."

The great and the not-so-great news

If you're recovering from a meniscus tear, this is great news.

It means that knee braces do help with meniscal strains and tears.

The not-so-great news is that the market of knee braces is confusing, and separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult. That's where we come in - we did all the research, so you don't have to.

Let's dive right in.

Choosing a knee brace for a meniscus tear

Before we get to our top picks, let's take a moment to make sure you understand what you're looking at.

best knee brace for meniscus tear

Level of support vs. grade of tear

Frankly, it's baffling how much conflicting information is out there. We've seen people recommending soft sleeves that offer little to no support.

A meniscus tear calls for a more serious approach.

Skip at least two levels of knee braces from the get-go - forget the sleeves and the wraparounds. Your knee needs more help than that.

With grade one and two tears, you might find relief in some of the low-profile models, but we'd advise you to forget about the aesthetics.

Go for something more robust that boasts some form of side stabilizers.

For grade three tear, we'd go with an unloader brace. You need to keep the pressure off the injured area, and that's what an unloader does. This is the type of brace that was used in the study we mentioned above.

Novel padding materials vs. old school

At the time of completing this guide, there was no regulation to govern materials used in knee braces.

That's one of the main reasons we called the market "confusing."

There are new materials finding their ways to the market, but we found that the best value for money (by far) here is neoprene and its composites (mixtures with other fabrics like cotton).

No one material ticks all the boxes

Polychloroprene or (as we know i) neoprene is a fascinating material with unique properties, both thermophysiological and mechanical. It's invaluable in the knee brace industry.

The one thing it lacks is breathability.

If you're going to wear the brace for hours on end, you need to give your skin room to breathe and wick moisture.

Design

We already mentioned that the biggest mistake you can make here is not get enough support.

There's an inherent physiological effect that comes with wearing a brace. You trust your knees more. But, if the support isn't there, you can make things worse by exerting pressure on the injured area.

At the other extreme, the wrong design can limit your movement too much.

The knee braces we'll talk about in a minute get that balance right. They are crafted to decompress the knee, control movement (without hindering it too much), and support the patella, all while staying securely in place.

Features of a well-chosen brace

Customization that works

Most braces are adjustable, but not all braces pass the test of time. The straps that hold it in place can start to shift and move with prolonged use, especially if the wicking is not regulated.

A good brace will be easy to put on and will stay in place.

Functional stability

A knee weekend by a tear of either of the menisci is more prone to side-to-side instability. Depending on where the tear is, you might feel a tendency for the knee to move inwards (valgus) or outwards (varus).

That's why you need some rigidity and not just a simple sleeve or wrap.

Knee alignment

As a result of a meniscus tear, you can start favoring one part of the knee joint, even if you're not aware of it. A good brace will correct that and redistribute the pressure within the knee and keep it off the injured meniscus.

-------------

Best knee brace for meniscus tear - our top 3 picks

To get the most of the information presented here, consult your doctor on which of these might be right for you.

Best for Grade 3 Tears and TOP Overall Pick - McDavid 429X

PROS

  • Offers a wider range of motion
  • Open-patella design with rich padding
  • Knee cap stabilization
  • Seamless, snug and soft fit
  • Breathable back panel

CONS

  • It can be too hot for long summer days

In our opinion, the M is the king of the hill. The balance between the stability and comfort it offers is unmatched, at least not in its price range.

Design approach you need for meniscus tears

The McDavid 429X takes a different approach to knee motion control compared to most braces we looked at. It's just the kind of approach that works for meniscus tears.

It compresses the area around the cap and directly controls any unwanted movement of the knee. The side-hinges 'play the role of unloading. The design of the hinges is polycentric, which means it allows controlled movement along all three axes.

Combine that with the well-placed crossing straps that improve ligament support e, and the result is a brace with an outstanding balance between stability and movement.

Level of support

McDavid categorizes their braces into four categories of support, from 1 to 3+. The higher the number, the more rigid the brace.

This brace is level 3, which is the second-highest. However, in our opinion, it's a better choice for meniscus tears than the Bio-Logix 4200 (3+ support level). While the Bio-Logix is a great brace for major instabilities, it falls short when it comes to meniscal support.

Breathable back panel

The neoprene snugly wraps around your knee, giving you an added layer of security. The back panel is made to breathe and wicks moisture - which is essential since most of the brace is neoprene.

Runner-Up - Z1 K2 Comfortline

PROS

  • versatile fit and comfortable finish
  • no slippage or movement
  • sturdy build
  • light, seamless open design for breathability

CONS

  • can take patience to take the measurements
  • no color choices

This kind of fit customization you get with the K2 brace typically costs much more. It's fair to say that this Z1 is as close you can get to custom fit without actually paying for that luxury.

Flawless fit

Braces of this type usually come in a few sizes. This Z1 comes in twenty-three.

Fit problems typically arise from slight differences in leg anatomy. With Z1, you don't just have to choose between small, medium, and large. You take the time to precisely measure all the important dimensions and make sure the brace fits you perfectly.

Fit-wise, it makes all the difference.

Seamlessly comfortable

The composite materials reinforced with stainless steel allow it to be light without sacrificing stability.

The silicone neoprene coating and foam padding of the straps make it one of the most comfortable braces we know of.

To put it simply, you won't feel anything rubbing against you.

3rd Top-Rated - Orthomen Hinged ROM Knee Brace

PROS

  • Adjustable range of motion, press-lock settings
  • High-quality, rugged construction with open design for breathability
  • Good support and padding near the meniscus
  • Adjustable in both length and width

CONS

  • We've seen reports of the clasp opening in people with bigger thighs
  • Limits movement more than the Z1

This Orthomen brace is one of the best though-out braces when it comes to rehabilitating a sports injury.

It's one of the few braces that allow you to adjust the motion range. This means that you can tweak it as your knee gets better. Whether you're recovering from a simple tear or a surgery, progressive recovery is a smart approach.

The construction is fairly simple and the brace is adjustable in both with and length.

The telescopic ROM hinges are precisely adjustable and the range of motion settings feature a rotational press-lock design, which is the golden standard for motion range control. You don't see that often in this price range.

New information & updates

We typically update this guide bi-monthly to make sure the information stays relevant. In the meantime, drop us a line in the comment section with any thoughts and questions.

Final Verdict

As you can appreciate there are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the Best Knee Brace for Meniscus Tears. 

Support is key.  However, there are other aspects, such as comfort and usability that are as equally important for the right knee brace for you.  Hopefully we have helped you make some sound decisions with your next knee brace via our buyers guide and Top 3 recommendations for the Best Knee Braces to help you recover from a meniscus tear.  

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below and we'll get back to you with an answer.  

Amazon Disclaimer

TheBestKneeBraces.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

crossmenu